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Silenced

April 29, 2011

It’s weird, uncomfortably weird, that there are so many people around me who don’t have a clue that this is going on in my life.

I come in to work in the morning, spend the elevator ride up staring at my reflection in the metal doors and forcing myself to smile until my eyes lift a little, and walk into the office. Everyone I pass says, “How are you?” but none of them really mean it. I’ve told six people here. Three made awkward responses and have since been very intentional about avoiding the topic (or me). One is my HR rep, and while she’s very sweet, her policy is that personal is personal and business is business – probably for the best. The other two have been very supportive, but one is out for a month (jury duty) and the other works on the opposite side of the building (it’s a big building).

So everyone who says, “how are you?” in passing – none of them really want to know. Or if they do on some level, they couldn’t possibly understand. And so I lie.

At first, when it happened and I was barely here, wandering the halls looking glassy eyed (I’m sure), my response was something along the lines of, “Enjoying my new job!” or “Work is going well.” But now I’ve lapsed into simply plastering on a smile and saying, “Good! You?”

They’re not really asking to hear the answer anyway. Afterall, this is America, where asking if you’ve eaten has significance and asking how you’re doing doesn’t.*

But for the past three hours, every person who passes me, I find myself wanting to tell them, yell at them in fact, “I saw him last night! We met to discuss logistics and I saw him, talked to him. He sat right next to me!”, my whole wellbeing encompassed in that simple fact.

After 25 days of silence, it has been earth shattering to actually see him. That sounds stupid as I type it, but it really shook me up.


*Cultural note: this is reversed in China.

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